Remember when I talked about the mural going up in our house at the end of September?
Here’s a summary of the process and the beautiful art we get to enjoy every day.
Thank you Jonathan Wakuda Fischer!
Lives above this cafe:
Where this mural is on the wall:
In Tartu, Estonia.
That’s our friend Dave, the impetus for our trip to Estonia (Eesti). He is studying the Estonian language at the University of Tartu, an institution that has weathered several rulers, occupations, and semesters of rowdy students. Founded in 1632, University of Tartu is one of Estonia’s great prides.
Dave is studying Estonian as a piece of his dissertation toward his PhD. He is already studying Russian. His dissertation focuses on citizenship issues emerging from borders between nations and cultures. (my synopsis, not sure I got it right). Estonia borders Russia and still sports about a 13% Russian population.
In order for those folks to become Estonian, and be full citizens of the country where they reside, they must first give up their Russian citizenship. The rule applies to any person wanting citizenship; I would have to give up my US citizenship to become Estonian. There is no dual citizenship for Estonians.
If a Russian gives up her Russian citizenship, she gives up any current benefits she receives (perhaps pension or unemployment), and she gives up the ability to easily cross the border into Russia, where many of her relatives still live. And, more practically, where she may be able to make a little extra cash by smuggling goods or legitimately assisting Russian businesspeople to make commercial connections in Estonia. Estonia is a European Union (EU) member, thus a desirable place to make business connections and inroads.
Thus, many Russians on the border and in the capital city, Tallinn, maintain Russian citizenship and embrace Russian culture. Just a snippet of the interesting work Dave is exploring.
He was a wonderful host who showed us much of what Tartu has to offer, while making some new discoveries along the way. Oh yea, I really dig the mural, too.
This weekend, Dave and I had a skype date with Jonathan Wakuda Fischer, the artist who will be installing a mural in our home this autumn. I mentioned him previously, when he was working on another project in Seattle, where he is based.
During our conversation, Jonathan asked “Are you familiar with Ninkasi beer?”
Dave and I excitedly looked at one another. You could say that Ninkasi was a way of life for us when we lived in the Pacific Northwest. For those of you unfamiliar with microbreweries in the Pacific Northwest, oftentimes they are bottling beer in 22-ounce bottles for retail sale. I’m sure they have a name for this size bottle, but we never learned what it was. Wikipedia tells me they are called “large bottles.” How clever. Colloquially, they are called “bombers” – well, that’s a little better, but I try to avoid nicknames based on violence, so I’ll stick with the non-name practice I have going.
Ninkasi large beers are widely sold in the Seattle metropolitan area and we happily scooped up bottle after bottle. They were just the right size for sharing…or not, depending on the night. We both appreciated the crisp, hoppy flavors that Ninkasi produces in their IPAs. They craft other types of beer, many of which we tried, but we always seemed to come back to the Total Domination IPA.
This line of thinking brings the Capital Brewery, Great Dane Pub, Ale Asylum, and the joy of living in Madison to mind. Just thinking about these beers makes my mouth water and brings many a long-winded story to mind.
Instead of tripping down that rabbit hole, I’m gonna bring it back to Ninkasi and Jonathan Wakuda Fischer.
After the elongated pause from Dave and I, Jonathan repeated his question, “Have you heard of Ninkasi brewery?”
This time, Dave and I stumbled over ourselves and each other to rave about Ninkasi and how much we love their beer. Dave even visited the brewery in Eugene, Oregon and brought back paraphernalia (really, I just don’t get to use that word often enough!). Bouncing along with our enthusiasm, Jonathan informed us that he was on his way to finish an installation for a Ninkasi tasting room in Seattle!
Today, it’s done.
Here is a close-up of the trompe l’oeil rug.
Mmmmm…happy sipping, Seattle.
Although cinquecentoProject focuses on the positive aspects of living in Sicilia, I have a certain fondness for Seattle, Wisconsin and other spots that I can’t deny.
Check out these great shots of the Sculpture Park in Seattle. It was my favorite sight to recommend to visitors and I was always happy to host a tour. We even included it in the slightly rainy 5k on our wedding day.